- 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Small pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 pound light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ⅔ cups moderately coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°. Spritz several large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and if desired, nutmeg together onto a large double thickness of wax paper and set aside. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in large electric mixer bowl at high speed until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs one by one. By hand fold in sifted dry ingredients, then pecans.
Drop dough from rounded teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets spacing about 1½ inches apart.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, on middle oven shelf until lightly browned and aroma is irresistible, 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer cookies at once to large wire racks and cool to room temperature before serving. If packing into canisters, layer cooled cookies between sheets of wax paper. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dark, dry spot. The cookies will taste fresh for about a month.
Makes 10 to 12 dozen cookies
About this recipe
Jean Anderson is a true jewel to the food world and we are lucky to have her in the Piedmont. She has launched the national acclaim of many of our chefs through her writings for many major food magazines and her tomes A Love Affair with Southern Cooking and From a Southern Oven, which are dog-eared and splattered in our test kitchen. These cookies are awesome.
“Every November my mother would begin baking cookies for the Christmas holidays, cookies to give as gifts, cookies to serve to drop-in guests. Though she made a variety of cookies, these were everyone’s favorite. They can be baked and frozen or simply squirreled away in air-tight containers, which is what Mother did. She labeled each canister ‘FHB,’ meaning ‘Family Hold Back.’ She knew that I knew all of her hiding places, also that I’d help myself if not told, ‘Hands off!’ I usually obeyed but sometimes simply could not resist these crisp brown sugar cookies strewn with coarsely chopped pecans. Should the pecans be toasted? Not necessary. Tip: It is imperative that you sift the flour before you measure it, even if the bag says ‘pre-sifted’ because flour compacts in transit and storage, thus 2 ½ cups unsifted flour might actually equally 3 to 3 ¼ sifted flour—meaning your cookies will be dry and tough.”